PHILADELPHIA, USA: Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that one of the world's most competitive and innovative thin-film solar panel producers will open a manufacturing facility in Philadelphia's Navy Yard, creating 400 jobs and leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment.
The Governor said the planned project by Heliosphera US represents an exciting development for Pennsylvania's green economy that will bolster the state and city's reputation as an emerging leader in solar technology and development.
"This was a very competitive project and Heliosphera's decision to locate this exciting facility at the Navy Yard speaks volumes about Pennsylvania's efforts to build a competitive economic climate and one that encourages growth and innovation in the renewable energy field that will define our future," said Governor Rendell.
"This project means a great deal for the city and the state, not only in terms of jobs and the sizeable investment the company is making here, but also in strengthening our state's presence in the solar energy industry. Solar is the fastest growing source of electric generation in the world. With this and other solar projects underway across the state, we're making a statement that we intend to be a leader in that growth."
Pennsylvania provided the company with a $49 million funding offer, coordinated through the Governor's Action Team, consisting of a variety of grants and loans.
Under Governor Rendell, Pennsylvania has been a leading state in advancing renewable energy technologies.
There are more than 1,300 solar projects underway in Pennsylvania today that, once completed, will bring the state's total solar capacity to nearly 60 megawatts, or enough to power 7,200 homes. That level of expected growth represents a fifteen fold increase in the amount of solar energy produced in the state in only a couple of years and will make Pennsylvania one of the top five states for solar production by 2010.
Pennsylvania is also one of the fastest growing states for wind power, ranking second nationally in wind power growth in the second and third quarters of 2009. By the end of 2009, Pennsylvania will have 17 operating wind farms providing 800 megawatts of electricity; enough to power 270,000 homes.
The Governor noted that Philadelphia is gaining a reputation as an emerging leader in solar technology and development. Earlier this year, the US Department of Energy designated Philadelphia as a "Solar America City."
Last summer, the nation's leading solar industry group, the Solar Energy Industries Association, chose Philadelphia as the site of its first "PV America" conference, which attracted corporate executives, energy leaders, small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the nation.
Governor Rendell said that Pennsylvania could attract even more renewable energy projects by expanding the state's alternative energy portfolio standards, which was first enacted in 2004 and led to the state's rapid growth in the industry. He urged the legislators to pass House Bill 80, which among other things would increase the share of energy electric companies must obtain from solar photovoltaic sources to 3 percent by 2026. The requirement is now 0.5 percent by 2020.
Heliopsphera Holding SA, an affiliate company of Heliosphera US, recently began operating its new 60 megawatt production facility in Peloponnesus, Greece. Production in that plant began in September 2009.
"Heliosphera US is pleased to announce the development of its new solar panel manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. This investment will allow the company to address what we believe will be the largest solar market in the world. We would like to thank Governor Rendell and the commonwealth for their strong support in developing this project," said Dr. Panos Ninios, president of Heliosphera US.
Since Governor Rendell took office in 2003, the Governor's Action Team has successfully completed 1,190 projects, resulting in commitments to create 126,200 new jobs and retain 298,400 existing positions. The state has offered more than $2 billion in assistance for these projects, which will leverage more than $16 billion in additional investment.